Di seguito la nostra intervista pubblicata qui in versione inglese:
• After the Tsume Fan Days 3 and this Christmas period full of pre-orders we can take stock of the situation. Are you satisfied with how the company has been working? Are you reaching important results?
Well, yes indeed it was a great last quarter of the year, with a lot of exciting projects. The company has grown so much this year and it is satisfactory in one way. However, I’m always shooting for the stars so there is still a lot of room for improvements, especially into making everybody aware of our newest brands: Iki and Yoka!
It’s also great to know that people love our creations for we work very hard on them. The trend of 2015 is that we are still getting new fans who did not know us before and that’s great. An obvious example is that Grenadier’s fans are way different from Naruto’s. Of course we have a constant fanbase but with each new statue, people keep discovering us, and that’s awesome!
• Grendizer HQS+ is surely one of the statues which has aroused greater sensation. Why did you choose to do it and why did you decide to introduce a new line with these super high quality and huge dimensions, especially if compared with a normal HQS? How did you work and what kind of problems have you encountered to make it?
UFO Robot Grendizer is the first anime ever aired in France. As such, it has a unique place in a lot of French fans. So of course, it was really engaging to be able to work on this license. Aside from that, it was the 40th anniversary of the franchise. So from the beginning I already knew I wanted to make a one-of-a-kind piece, something to be remembered! The idea was that, since we were working on a mecha (a giant robot), the statue could not be the same size than our other statues. We knew we had to make it massive! Until the project was what you discovered during the Twitch session. What I want to make is the ultimate collector item for any Grendizer fan, something that can carries the wonder that stroke the French audience the first time they saw the anime. I want people to feel the same the first time they see the statue!
As for the problem, we’re just at half way. What you saw is a prototype so a lot of work will be done with the factory but of course, big challenge will be the electrical parts and the Double Spazer which must not apply too much weight on Grendizer. That’s why we’re looking into materials to make it lighter. But I think the n°1 problem was working such a big statue. Parts were too tall to be printed with our printers and we had to work with different machines way less precise and smooth. The result was that we had to triple the work on each part because we had to sand them a lot and redraw some details… This is also one of the reason of the price of the statue : Big statue, lots of material and insane quantity of work on it!
• The success of Grendizer is indisputable. Are you planning to increase the HQS+ line? Will you make other Go Nagai robots or similar ones?
Yes, the success of Grendizer is indisputable and for that I really thank all our fans and all Grenadier’s fans who trust us so much. When I see that, it makes me so happy and it gives me so much energy to carry on for next projects…
Will we make other giant robots, whether it’s Go Nagai’s or others, we’re looking into it. Of course, we have a lot of ideas in mind because we could make some really awesome setups with licenses like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Mobile Suit Gundam… However, nothing is decided yet. We have so many ongoing projects and we are already working on so many licenses… Unfortunately, there is a limit to how many project one company can run simultaneously!
We also know that this statue is very expensive and one can not afford too many projects like this at the same time, so we have to think thoroughly before launching a new one. However, you should know that, as we did with Zoro or Raoh before Grendizer, I became my own boss so I could create whatever I want… So I’m going to work with my awesome team on whatever crazy idea goes through my mind without limiting ourselves with economic restraints or other boring concerns… The truth is that I’m very lucky because I let my craziness run wild and people are supporting me with this!
• Some people didn’t like the choice to set the numbering of the robot once the pre-order period was terminated, instead of publish it before the opening of the pre-orders, as usually happens. Would you explain why you have dediced to do so?
This was certainly a very uncommon decision, coming from us. However, we thought through it thoroughly before doing this. We had several issues in mind. One of them is that Grendizer is a one-of-a-kind project. So there was no way we could predict right how well it would sell. With other licenses, we can decide the ideal run, based on previous sales, popularity of the character and several other points… but there is no history with this. And the truth is that there is no other project like this statue in the manga merchandising history… so even our trusted resellers were not able to give us figures. So we decided we would let everybody who wants it get it. You have to keep in mind that the retail price is still a limit and people could not afford it at this period of time, so one way or another, we knew it would still be limited but we did not wanted to be too shy and make a piece too limited for a bad reason.
• Recently we notice that the speculators on your statues are increasing and it seems you are taking action. Can you explain in detail your point of view? What are you doing about it?
As for our regular pieces, we are still thinking of different solution so I can not answer your question right now. However I can tell you we are working on stuff, including creating a trust contract with our reseller to identify those who are trustworthy from the others. But I mus insist on the fact that we want to regulate 2nd hand market, not stop it… this is the normal circle of life for a collector product: since it’s limited people will want it when it’s not available anymore and prices will go up… it just should not go crazy with no true reason…
• You announced the new licenses of One Punch Man and Terra Formars. When could we see the statues from these series? Can you already tell us for which line they will be made and if you are planning to start immediately with the main characters?
Indeed we announced those two licenses and we are very excited about them. These two series are about very powerful characters, so I guess you can expect some pretty powerful creations… if you get what I mean… But we have a lot of ideas and you might see some surprises with these new universes. As for the characters, you know I like to keep my secrets!
• You annunced that in February there will be the pre-order of a new statue of One Piece. Will we finally see Nico Robin HQS or will you have a surprise for the fans?
Yes, you will see the Nico Robin we teased about during Tsume Fan Days 3. M. Shingaki who attend the event have nicely agreed to draw our version of the character and that is what you could see in the One Piece room.
• Talking about Naruto Xtra line: with the last pre-orders you have reached 10 figures. Are you going to add some female characters, perhaps starting with Sakura to complete the famous Team 7? How do you choose the characters to be created for this rich line?
Yes, we have reach 10 figures with this line… time flies so fast! We have plans for female character(s) with this line, indeed. We choose the characters we love, we think of the bonds they may share (for instance Kakashi and Obito, Obito and Madara…), the ideas we have. For instance, we wanted to make Rock Lee and Shikamaru because they are beloved characters but there are scarcely no figures of them.
• Talking about Bleach and Fairy Tail series, which have a lot of fans: are you going to create new products, perhaps with a new line of Xtra for Bleach or some HQS for the main characters of Fairy Tail?
We have absolutely no plans of releasing Bleach’s Xtra figures for now nor Fairy Tail’s HQS statues. But we still have a new range of PVC figures to unveil for Fairy Tail and Naruto Shippuden.
• When will we see the statue of Rei from Hokuto no ken and when will you open te pre-orders? Are you already working on a new character from Hokuto? What would you like to create first?
Rei is currently under approval with the licensor, since we work directly with North Star Pictures and Mr Hara is very busy, it takes time. Pre-orders will open as soon as we can. Of course we already have ideas for other characters but since this project is not over, it’s too soon to work on the next one. However, we know that Italy is really a Hokuto no Ken-loving country with a strong fan base. How would you like if we run a poll through your website to decide which character to do (except Kenshiro of course)? That could be fun, don’t you think?
• The statue of Piccolo HQS has had a great success. Can you give us a preview on the next statue of Dragon Ball? You said it will be a fight, between which characters?
The next Dragon Ball Z statue is still under heavy work so there is nothing I can show you yet. However I can tell you that, just as we did for Piccolo, our idea with this scene is to bring back your emotions of the first time you discovered this amazing anime. With this specific collection, we want to tell a story!
• Shiryu HQS is now coming into the collector homes and Leo is already soldout. Will the next Saint Seiya be a Bronze or a Gold saint? What would you like to do first?
As we announced shortly after Tsume Fan Days 2, the next figure to be done after Aiolia is Aiolos, by fans choice. And our release scheme is 1 bronze - 2 gold. So here goes the speculations for the one after sagittarius!
• Some old statues has a lower numeration (3/400 copies) compared with the most recent ones and for a lot of fans will be impossible to complete these collections. Is it possibile you will make a recolor (or something similar) of various Gaara, Zaraki and Deidara as happened with Phoenix Ikki or will you do some different versions of the same characters already made earlier such as Naruto Chakara Mode (perhaps with Kurama), Naruto Rikudo Sennin Mode or Gaara with Shukaku? The second version could be done also for the Xtra line.
I understand the feeling of people who did not know us before… however, this is collectible we are talking about. It’s a deal we make with our fans. "You buy this statue because it’s amazing and because you know how much there are in the world” we can’t change that deal. Recoloring has no interest if you ask me if not for true reason. If you compare Ikki “Kurumada” and Ikki “Araki”, they are very different (whereas Shiryu does not change that much for instance). However we may indeed release a new statue of the character, something different. However, it’s always choosing between creating statues of new characters or old ones… It’s a tough choice!
But you should know we don’t forget you and we’re considering some solution… Please keep trusting us. On the meanwhile, please keep supporting official release and do not engage with counterfeited products… It’s a real downer for us when we see how hard we work to gain the licensees’ and fans trust to see others coming along and play with different rules.
• The Tsume Fan Days 4 event this year will last three days, one more than the previous editions. Have you got any preview? Will you increase the number of the participants and guests? Can we expect a new exclusive HQS as last year?
We are in the middle of lots of decision making processes for Tsume Fan Days 4, so unfortunately it’s too early for me to tell you much. However we do plan to increase the number of attendees slightly. We want to make it even better than last year. We requested some awesome stuff to our partners and there might be some crazy surprises. I’m not sure I will repeat the exclusive HQS pieces this year. It was a lot of work to release a statue in such a short period of time… We may consider so other elements for the HQS ticket. But be sure this edition will blow your mind. I have a thousand of ideas and we will give everything we have to make this event special. This is our moment of grace, the 3 days when we can fully be with you and share our mutual passion… this year it will be as true as it always is!
My main goal in 2016 is to gather some staff to work on the event so the Tsume team is available fully for the fans! I have no doubt TFD 4 will be the best figure and japanese merchandising event that has ever be done!